Guest Post by Tony Grant: SHERE, A Village in Surrey

Dear Readers: Please welcome Tony Grant today, as he gives us a bit of a travelogue through the village of Shere in Surrey. This all came about because of the holidays – and the holidays always brings the need to re-watch The Holiday with Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz and Jack Black. And whenever you watch this movie, you want to immediately move to England and live in Kate Winslet’s cottage (and having Jude Law around would not be a bad thing either…) – so then you start looking into where that cottage actually is, and then you find out it doesn’t actually exist at all, and then you start researching this village of Shere and looking for real real estate, so then you realize you have a better person to help with this, and who better to ask to do a blog piece on it but Tony Grant, who with his love of history, great photography skills, and the fact he doesn’t live all that far away, made it a no-brainer to implore him to write something… here is the result – please note that many of the pictures are shots of the village and surrounding area, randomly scattered throughout the post unless specifically identified, and all by Tony Grant. Hope you enjoy this travel adventure – and be sure to put Shere on your itinerary when next you are in England (whenever that will be … we can only live in Hope).

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Rosehill Cottage, ‘The Holiday’ [Source: inwws.co.uk]

SHERE, A Village in Surrey, by Tony Grant

For as long as I can remember, my family and I have visited Shere Village in Surrey every Summer. When the children were really small and we only had Sam and Alice as toddlers in those days, Shere Village with the river Tillingbourne rippling its cool glassy way behind  the backs of  shops and under the low bridge in the High Street always had its fascinations. Ducks and geese in abundance swam in the river or stood on the river bank and Sam and Alice were very excited and interested in feeding them with bits of bread and just being able to look at them and see how they behaved. After Emily was born and later Abigail came along, we continued our tradition of going to Shere. We loved walking round the village, being in amongst ancient buildings, some timber framed with whitewashed walls, some constructed from the local greensand stone, wisteria and climbing roses draping themselves over and festooning the houses. It is the quintessential English country village.

When we visit Shere we often walk further afield, up into the hills and valleys around Shere. Shere is set in that part of Surrey where Chalk downland to the north provides a vista of smoothly rounded and curving steep sided hills, voluptuous in their contours. Sculptors such as Barbara Hepworth were inspired by the contours of the English countryside. To the south and west stretches the Greensand Ridge consisting of hard Bargate Stone, ironstones and soft sandstones. These rock formations are part of the western extremities of The Weald anticline. Greensand was laid down in the Cretaceous period over 145 million years ago and the chalk downland was also laid down in the Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago. These two geological formations are apparent in the landscape, buildings and farming in the area around Shere.

Driving to Shere is always a very pleasant experience. We live about 20 miles north of Shere in a straight line within the London Borough of Merton. According to Google maps, when I type in Motspur Park to Shere by car, it gives me 23 miles as the distance and times the driving journey at 37 minutes. I always think the time GOOGLE gives is a useless bit of knowledge. If the roads are clear I can get there much quicker and if there are road works, need I say more? Driving down the A3, a major road, from South London towards Portsmouth usually has a lot of traffic on it. The A3 takes us over the M25, that motorway that encircles London and what a sight that always is, a continuous flow of multi lane traffic that goes on for ever and ever like a gigantic sinuous serpent. Not that the A3, a three lane highway, doesn’t have its attractive features. Most of it passes south through silver birch, oak and ash woodland.  Oxshott Woods, a vast area of heathland , wild water ponds and trees, is a haven for horse riding, running , cycling and  walking, if that is what you want.

Along the A3 we pass the turn off for Painshill, which incidentally Jane Austen mentions in letters. She passed the Painshill Estate  on her way to London. Painshill once had a great house attached to it but the park has been restored to its 18th century glory. The landscaping is amazing with lakes, temples, grottos and pagodas. An 18th century pleasure garden. But, we are not going there today.

It is not far until we turn off for Ockham on the left. Immediately we get on to single track country roads between fields and more woodland. We soon drive along a road that borders a large estate. High brick walls enclose it for miles with attractive gate houses and cottages positioned along the perimeter here and there. It encloses an 18th century deer park, where also horse breeding and sheep farming are practiced today. We pass medieval stone built, All Saints Church on the right, set back amongst trees with its lichen covered gravestones, some dating  back centuries.

Surrey is a beautiful county. It has much woodland and is famous for its bluebell woods which are carpeted with bluebells in the spring. You also come across fields which grow oilseed rape. You can’t miss them.  A field of oilseed rape is bright yellow. The oilseeds are used to make vegetarian butters and spreads. It is also a natural product that is put into shampoos and soaps. Another crop Surrey is famous for are its lavender fields. Lavender has such a lovely powerful scent. Walking through a field of lavender can give you quite a high. The lavender is used in perfumes and medicines. It is great for a bouquet to hang in your kitchen or even in your bedroom.

Surrey has mostly mixed farming. You come across fields with dairy cows grazing in them, horse breeding is prevalent, there are some wheat fields and a lot of sheep are bred on the grassland that grows well on the chalky soils of the chalk downs. Grassland, for sheep and cattle is what you find around the environs of the village of Shere.

From Ockham we drive on through some of those bluebell woods and dipping into shallow valleys in some places but mostly climbing higher onto the chalk downs above Shere. From the top of the downs leading into the Village itself, we pass along a narrow valley down a steep road called Combe Lane. The valley begins as a small indentation in the land at the top of the downs and continues making a long deepening cut into the hills and drops, to the lower level near Shere.

What is interesting about this small, long valley is what is in it. On the far side you can catch a glimpse of a small concrete building nestling into the valley side. It has two narrow slits facing down the valley. During World War II when Britain thought Germany might invade, all sorts of preventative defensive measures were put in place all over the British countryside. You can still come across areas with tank traps in Surrey and other southern counties. Near where I was born in Southampton you can come across large concrete foundations built at various places along the side of Southampton Water reaching from the Hamble River right up to the River Itchen. These were the foundations for the massive anti- aircraft guns that were located on these sights. However the small hidden concrete boxes, called pill boxes, were the most prolific constructions. Railway lines, major roads and as it seems some valleys were provided with them. They were machine gun installations and artillery positions, partly hidden and would only have been seen at close quarters and of course by then they would have spewed out shells and machine gun bullets at quite a rate.  They could only be thought of as a slowing tactic. The shell from a Tiger Tank would have destroyed a concrete pill box in an instant. I grew up with these sort of military emplacements dotted about where I lived in Southampton. They were manned by what was termed ,The Home Guard. The Home Guard were men too old to join the regular army. They had served in the trenches of the First World War in France and they were retrained to defend Britain if ever it was invaded.

So eventually we drive into SHERE Village itself after crossing the main Shere Road along Upper Street. It has buildings of many periods. The oldest are the timber framed with their black tarred timbers highlighted against the white plaster infills of wattle and daub. It is a long road bordered by cottages that leads into the centre. At one point we drive under an intricately constructed wooden footbridge. We arrive at a junction. Ahead is Gomshall Lane. To the right Middle Street passes through the centre of the village. However, to the left is a large car park in a field near the cricket ground over looked by the high rolling chalk downs. This is where we park our car.

The Shere Cricket Club likes to think its roots began in 1671, when a game of cricket is recorded in the village. Cricket as we know it better today, began when village teams began to compete on a regulated basis in 1744. Rules were written down and later in 1788 The Marylebone Cricket club revised the rules. You will find cricket being played on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays at the weekend in Shere. [Ed. You can read Tony’s post on Cricket here].  Once we have parked we are free to saunter into the village and enjoy the ambience and timelessness of this incredible place.

To the left of the car park, a little along Gomshall Lane, is the old working men’s club next to the  Village Hall. The Working Mens Club is no longer used for its original purpose. The social mix of Shere and those who live in Shere has changed over the years. The Working Mens Club, originally for those who worked on the land locally is now Shere Museum. It records  daily rural life over the centuries. The museum covers a broad period of history from Victorian times up to the 1950s.  A large display commemorates the RAF Dambusters raid in World War II. We can learn about the exploits of Flight Lieutenant John Vere Hopgood DFC who was a pilot in the Dambusters Raid. He was born and brought up in Shere. Displays show objects of daily life with tools, toys, domestic items and clothing mainly from the time the Museum covers.

St James’ Church Lych Gate – wikipedia

The life and works of architect Edwin Lutyens is also featured. He designed and built the war memorial and the Lych Gate that mark the entrance to St James’s Church in the village. There is also an extensive collection of archival and reference material which includes old photographs, records, maps, society records, parish magazines that recall the people of Shere and the local history of the surrounding area. We always take time to explore the incredible objects and stories the museum tells.

 

Shere Village Hall

The Village Hall next door, along with the church, is the hub of the village still. Music concerts, parties, wedding receptions, birthdays, village dances and all manner of village and local gatherings make use of the village hall. And across the road from the Village Hall is the Shere Infant and Nursery School, which has been serving the local community since 1852, The school building is the original Victorian building with new additions. Recently OFSTED [Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills] awarded it OUTSTANDING. That means it offers fantastic learning opportunities with great facilities and an excellent standard of teaching [see below for a link].

From the museum, we walk on into Middle Street, the heart of the village. Marilyn likes to go into a shop called “Cuckoo Corner.” It is an ancient timber frame building and going into it is like walking into the carcass and bones of some ancient creature. Massive oak beams support the building as uprights and create the enclosed spaces with large powerful cross beams. Walking around the shop is an adventure in itself, from one level to another up and down and walking from one small room to another with all the nooks and crannies. It is womb-like. Be careful of cracking your skull on the overhead oak beams. It is a gift shop and is full to the brim with rural artefacts, pottery, weaving, cloth prints, cards, local paintings and photographs. We look around the shop and then walk out. I don’t think we have ever bought anything from it. It’s a very pleasant adventure just looking at the things.

Then on down Middle Street past Mad Jacks that sell fabrics, the Coop (Cooperative Stores) is on the left where you can buy your groceries. Surrey Hills off licence is on the left too where you can stock up with beer, wine and gin, if that is your preference. Tim Clarkes Photography is on the opposite side of the road alongside Favourite Things, a baby shop, and then the Dabbling Duck Café which is beside the River Tillbourne that wends its silvery way through the village. It is here, when the children were younger, where we would stop and spend time with the ducks and geese floating on the river. Just across The Tillbourne on the right is the forge, still used as a forge today, next to the wooden construction of the old fire station. The White Horse public house comes next. Opposite the pub at this part of Middle Street is The Square, with an island of grass and a massive tall oak tree growing in the middle of it. Timber frame and stone cottages encircle the square which leads towards the Lutyens war memorial and the Lych Gate leading into the church yard of St James’s Church.

St James’ Church, Shere

St James’ has a tall spire reaching to the sky above a stone built nave. St James is in the Early English style, mostly 12th, 13th and 14th century. It replaced an earlier Anglo-Saxon church mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is constructed of ironstone rubble with sandstone buttresses. The materials for building all the cottages, houses and indeed the church itself come from the  geology and soil beneath our feet. Bricks from local clay deposits, the sandstones from the Greensand intrusions, the oak beams of the timber frame buildings from the local forests, wattle and daub, a mixture of fencing constructed with thin copparded branches of beech and ash, the daub from cow dung and lime deposits from the ground. It is interesting to think that humans have constructed their built world from the earth and rocks from which the very Earth is made. It as though our habitations have grown out of the ground beneath, which indeed they have. 

Shere is mentioned in the “Domesday Book” of 1086.  The area was owned by William the Conqueror himself. The Domesday Book describes two mills, 14 ploughs, 3 acres of meadow and woodland worth 50 hogs. It provided £15 per annum to its overlords. The Domesday Book is the “Great Survey,” of much of England and parts of Wales and was completed in 1086. William the Conqueror wanted to know what he had conquered and how much it was worth. Taxation of the land and communities had begun. “Doomsday” indeed.

During the 16th, 17th and really up to the 19th century this part of Surrey, protected by the surrounding hills and its remoteness from large local towns was considered the wildest part of Surrey. It was well known for its sheep stealing, smuggling exploits, and the poaching of the local estates. Some cottages and indeed The White Horse pub have large cellars that previously were used for storing smuggled and stolen goods.

One of Shere’s most intriguing and interesting inhabitants was Christine Carpenter, who lived in Shere in the 14th century. She was born and brought up here. In 1329, she requested from the local Bishop the right to become an anchoress. The Bishop granted her wish. The people of Shere built a small stone cell into the north wall of St James near the high altar of the church for her. Christine was incarcerated in the cell and spent her time praying for the people of Shere. The local people would come to talk to Christine about their problems and ask for her prayers. She would listen, give her advice and pray for them.

Christine Carpenter – anchoress at St. James’ Church

Inside the church today, near the high altar, you can still see the spy hole that enabled her to watch mass being said by the priest. There is also a quatrefoil window where people could come to visit Christine and talk to her. At one time she requested to come out of the cell to live in the village again. After some time she again asked to go back into the cell. On the wall above the spy hole in the church are encased some documents referring to Christine and her life. Almost contemporary with the life of Christine is that of Julian of Norwich who was an anchoress attached to St Julian’s Church in Norwich. Lady Julian became famous throughout Medieval Europe for her wisdom and her spiritual writings concerning her relationship with Jesus.  Her Revelations of Divine Love is still in print today. People still use it as a spiritual source for prayer and meditation.  Margery Kempe, another mystic, was taught and influenced by Julian and Margery’s writings are also still available [see below for links].

Now to the point: Shere in recent decades has become a film set. Forty-one films have been made here over the past 100 years. Among the most recent being Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), where a wedding ceremony takes place in St James’ Church. Four Weddings and Funeral filmed in (1994) and of course, as we’ve seen, the Christmas classic, The Holiday (2006) starring, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black. [you can find a list of all the films shot in Shere here.

In The Holiday [Ed. and what prompted this post!], Shere is the location of Kate Winslet’s cottage that she swaps with Cameron Diaz’s LA mansion. Scenes in Shere include Cameron Diaz arriving in a taxi. The driver leaves her next to the church because he cannot drive up the narrow lane to the cottage. Her first sites of Shere are the grave stones in the cemetery. From the Church Cameron Diaz drags her heavy luggage up the lane to the cottage which was constructed for the film in a field on the chalk doenland overlooking Shere and the spire of St James church. The White Horse pub in Shere is where Jude Law takes Cameron Diaz for a drink. We also see Cameron Diaz driving Kate Winslet’s Mini Cooper [Ed. yay for mini-coopers!] through the village and along the surrounding sunken lanes. These lanes are difficult to drive along. They have been cut into the local sandstone and have high vertical sides. I too have gasped driving past oncoming traffic just as Cameron Diaz does in the film.

the lane to Rosehill Cottage…
The White Horse pub in Shere
CAMERON DIAZ stars as Amanda in THE HOLIDAY, a film by Nancy Meyers.

Shere today is very different from its historical past. A significant minority of the people living in Shere nowadays are London Commuters. In the 2001 census self-employed people constituted 36% of the population, retirees 16%. 48% are employees working for shopkeepers, farmers and small local grass roots high tech companies. The village today, as illustrated by its local sports clubs such as the cricket club, the vibrant life of the Village Hall and the thriving local junior school that has been graded as outstanding by OFSTED, shows that it is a village for today and not just a relic of the past. It is fit for the 21st century.

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Images of Shere for your viewing pleasure: [Ed. I will take any one of these houses!]

Church Cottage, Shere Village
For misbehaving Shereites…
Slightly drunken gravestones [too much time perhaps at the White Horse ?..]

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References and Further Reading:

Shere information:

St. James’ Church, Shere:

The White Horse pub: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g616273-d1155834-Reviews-The_White_Horse-Shere_Guildford_Surrey_England.html

Pill Boxes in WWII: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_hardened_field_defences_of_World_War_II

Julian of Norwich:

Margery Kempe:

Dambusters Raid: https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-incredible-story-of-the-dambusters-raid

All you need to know about copparding: The wattle part of wattle and daub is constructed by weaving the thin branches cut from copparded trees. The wattle is a sort of woven fencing onto which the cow dung, lime and straw mix is stuck and when dried out together becomes the wattle and daub infill for timber framed buildings. https://www.google.com/amp/s/jatehorticulture.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/copparding/amp/

OFSTED [The Office For Standards in Education] report on Shere Church of England Infants School gives a great insight into the school and how it is run: https://secureservercdn.net/160.153.138.53/e8a.73f.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/10088228-Shere-CofE-Aided-Infants-125246-Final-PDF.pdf

The Holiday:

Making The Holiday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSO9pavoJq4

A completely irrelevant Aside: Newlands Corner is close to Shere and where Agatha Christie’s car was found during her strange-but-true disappearance in 1936 [and a subject for another post…]:
https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/nostalgia/agatha-christies-disappearance-how-two-18562395


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Thank you Tony for this grand tour of Shere … now if you could just get me one of those cottages….

©2021, Jane Austen in Vermont and Tony Grant

JASNA-Vermont’s Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea!

You Are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea!

 

December approaches and our thoughts turn to…Jane Austen’s Birthday and Tea!

This is just a reminder that the annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea is coming up on December 8 at the Essex Resort and Spa. There will be Food! Dancing! Jane Austen’s Proposals!

Here are the details:

December 8, 2019

1:00-4:30

 

The Essex Resort and Spa

70 Essex Way, Essex Junction, VT

 

$35 for Members / $40 for Non-members / $15 for Students (w/ID)

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The afternoon will include:

  • Full English Tea with finger sandwiches, assortment of sweets, scones, and, of course, tea,
  • English Country Dancing for all who would like to, no experience necessary, taught and led by the illustrious Val Medve,

  • A talk by Deb Barnum and Hope Greenberg on “Proposals in Jane Austen: ‘What did she say?… Just what she ought'” – enlivened with a visual journey through these scenes as played out in the various Austen film adaptations,

  • and, good company—no, the “best company” with “clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.”

Regency dress is encouraged but not required!

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Please click here for the reservation form: Dec Tea 2019-Reservation form-final and send it with your payment to the address noted on the form. Registration closes on November 23. 

Hope you can join us! 

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

The Pemberley Post, No. 11 (Mar 11-24, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and So Much More!

Good Morning Readers: Two weeks worth today – had another post to do last week – so here is an array of items from Hogarth, the Ladies of Llangollen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mr. Carson, book exhibits, birding, Carrie Chapman Catt, Astley’s Amphitheatre, the uses of the Bugle, and a few items about Jane Austen…

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We know Jane Austen knew her Hogarth, so we should know about him too:

“Gin, Syphilis, Lunacy” – The Sir John Soane Museum will be exhibiting a series of Hogarth’s works: https://www.soane.org/whats-on/exhibitions/hogarth-place-and-progress

The Tête à Tête, 1743, the second in the series called Marriage A-la Mode by William Hogarth.

Hogarth: Place and Progress (Oct 9, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020) will unite all of Hogarth’s surviving painted series for the first time, along with his engraved series. The Museum’s own Rake’s Progress and An Election will be joined by Marriage A-la-Mode from the National Gallery, the Four Times of Day from the National Trust and a private collection, as well as the three surviving paintings of The Happy Marriage from Tate and the Royal Cornwall Museum. The exhibition will also include engraved series lent by Andrew Edmunds prints such as The Four Stages of Cruelty, Industry and Idleness and Gin Lane and Beer Street.

– You can read about the exhibit here: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/mar/02/hogarth-paintings-united-new-show-gin-syphilis-lunacy

– And more Hogarth at the Morgan Library starting May 24 thru September 22, 2019: Hogarth: Cruelty and Humorhttps://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/hogarth

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[Creamer with an image of the Ladies of Llangollen] and Ladies of Llangollen figurine, pottery, 1800s] 

“500 Years of Women’s Work: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection” is on exhibit at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University through June 15, 2019. It then moves to the Grolier Club in NYC. The collection includes all manner of books, art works, decorative arts, ephemera, lots on slavery, women suffragettes – even offers a look at Virginia Woolf’s writing desk.

Here is the online version, filled with many images: https://exhibits2.library.duke.edu/exhibits/show/baskin/introduction

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Read about the Letters Live shows, a celebrity-filled reading of literary correspondence that has taken the world by storm: http://letterslive.com/

Think Benedict Cumberbatch, who is now a producer of the show, reading your favorite author’s letters – the next will be in London’s Victoria and Albert Hall on October 3, 2019.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar/13/benedict-cumberbatch-power-of-letters-thom-yorke-noel-fielding-letters-live

And a YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WFD38j2F5A

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Jim Carter, our favorite Butler (a.k.a. Mr. Carson) has received the OBE: so well-deserved!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6808157/Downton-Abbey-actor-Jim-Carter-receives-OBE.html

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Napoleon’s library and walking stick and how both changed the history of Sotheby’s Auction House: https://www.sothebys.com/en/articles/how-napoleons-walking-stick-started-sothebys-as-we-know-it

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Beginning March 22 through June 14, 2019 at the Library at the University of Otago (Dunedin, NZ) – just hop on down! – Special Collections will be exhibiting “For the Love of Books: Collectors and Collections” – a very selective overview of all the types of materials within their Special Collections. It highlights the type of books amassed by collectors such as Willi Fels, Esmond de Beer, Charles Brasch, and the Rev. William Arderne Shoults, as well as those discrete collections such as the Scientific Expedition Reports, and the Pulp Fiction Collection. I’ll post more when the exhibition goes live this week… You can follow them on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/otagospecialcollections/

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I have a good number of friends who are Birders – so this is for you! (even my friend Sara who hates games of any kind will be converted with this one…) – a board game called “Wingspan” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/birding-meets-gaming-unconventional-new-board-game-180971685

To play “Wingspan,” up to five players step into the shoes of ornithologists, bird watchers and collectors. Balancing bird cards, food tokens and multi-colored miniature egg pieces, competitors build avian networks by acquiring and deploying resources related to a specific species card. Take the roseate spoonbill, for instance: As Roberts observes, the species carries a value of six points. Placed in its native wetland habitat (rather than grassland or forest), the spoonbill can lay two point-generating eggs. Settling down comes at a cost, however, with players forced to cover a food requirement of one invertebrate, one seed and one fish. A special power conferred by the card is the chance to keep one of two extra bonus cards drawn from the deck.

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As we are still in Women’s History Month, see this Library of Congress now digitized collection of the papers of Carrie Chapman Catt:

https://www.loc.gov/collections/carrie-chapman-catt-papers/about-this-collection/

“The papers of suffragist, political strategist, and pacifist Carrie Love Chapman Catt (1859-1947) span the years 1848-1950, with the bulk of the material dating from 1890 to 1920. The collection consists of approximately 9,500 items (11,851 images), most of which were digitized from 18 microfilm reels. Included are diaries, correspondence, speeches and articles, subject files, and miscellaneous items, including photographs and printed matter. The collection reflects Catt’s steadfast dedication to two major ideals–the rights of women, particularly the right to vote, and world peace.”

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Astley’s Amphitheatre:

Philip Astley – NFCA

Austen mentions Astley’s in a letter to Cassandra in August 1796:

“Edward and Frank are both gone out to seek their fortunes; the latter is to return soon and help us seek ours. The former we shall never see again. We are to be at Astley’s to-night, which I am glad of.”

And in Emma: He [Robert Martin] delivered these papers to John, at his chambers, and was asked by him to join their party the same evening to Astley’s. They were going to take the two eldest boys to Astley’s… and in the next chapter: Harriet was most happy to give every particular of the evening at Astley’s, and the dinner the next day…

You can read more about Astley’s and the founder Philip Astley at the National Fairgrounds and Circus Archives here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca/researchandarticles/philipastley

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Those of you love Georgette Heyer (and everyone should…), here’s an essay on Thieves’ Cant: https://daily.jstor.org/why-did-thieves-cant-carry-an-unshakeable-allure/ – Heyer was an expert at it, often putting it in the mouths of her want-to-be-so-cool young gentlemen. The Caveat of Cursetors: https://archive.org/details/acaveatorwarnin00harmgoog/page/n6

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Communicating during the Civil War via the Bugle: https://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2019/03/primary-sources-for-musical-learning-exploring-the-triad-through-the-civil-war-bugle/?loclr=eatlcb

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Always one of my favorite things to read – the OED’s new list of words: https://public.oed.com/updates/new-words-list-march-2019/

-And an OED blog post about them: https://public.oed.com/blog/new-words-in-the-oed-march-2019/

-Some of my favorites this time around: anti-suffragism (only added now???); bampot; puggle; Weegie; and a word Austen would have used: sprunting (sounds awful but it’s not…)

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Literary Hub has published a list of 80 famous writers and their age for their first and last works – this gives hope to many of you out there who still have a Novel inside them awaiting pen to paper…: https://lithub.com/when-80-famous-writers-published-their-first-and-last-books/

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We hope Britain can figure their very own political mess (we have a big enough one of our own…) – but here is a “relaxing” take on the whole debacle:

– all really sad but a good laugh at the same time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqwEa6I1lwI

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And to take your minds off the ongoing world messes, why not settle in and watch all of these FORTY British period dramas coming in 2019: http://britishperioddramas.com/lists/best-new-british-tv-period-drama-series-2019

I thought Belgravia (the book was a good read – I expect the mini-series to be even better… what’s not to like in a “tale of secrets and scandal set in 1840s Lonon”?!)

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The new Emma film is discussed at Willow & Thatch: https://www.willowandthatch.com/emma-taylor-joy-movie-adaptation-news/

No matter who plays Mr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn has the honors this time around – he played William Dobbin in the latest Vanity Fair, the long-suffering Amelia-does-not-love-me sad-sack) – it is a darn shame that Richard Armitage never did so – he would have been perfect, IMHO… but I love Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse – he’ll be the perfect weather-obsessed, self-absorbed hypochondriac ….

Richard Armitage in “North & South”

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And more on Austen movies by Graham Daseler here at the Los Angeles Review of Books – a very spot-on take on all the adaptations and which is the best (Persuasion 1995 – I agree whole-heartedly) and worst (Mansfield Park 1983) – though I don’t agree with his nasty bit about Clueless – he gives high marks to Olivier as Darcy, etc… – you can read it yourself here: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/jane-austen-on-film/

Persuasion 1995

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Happy surfing all … let me know what you find this week!

C2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

 

The Pemberley Post, No. 8 (Feb 18-24, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

Welcome to my weekly round-up: from amorous footmen to Dickens’s shoddy treatment of his wife, the upstanding Mr. Knightley, and dieting with Jane; with further thoughts on the taxation of dogs, the Mona Lisa, dust jackets and Austen’s Sanditon – can one have a life without knowing all this??

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A new journal to be launched in April: The Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research‘s enthusiastic PhD students have just launched a fabulous new online, Open Access peer reviewed journal called Romance, Revolution and Reform: https://www.rrrjournal.com/

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If you’ve been watching Victoria on Masterpiece (and you should be…), here’s a real-life tale along the lines of The Footman and the Duchess: “The Amorous Footman”: https://penandpension.com/2019/02/20/the-case-of-the-amorous-footman/

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Mrs. Dickens (image: TLS)

So, it’s common knowledge now that Dickens left his wife for another woman – Ellen Tiernan the actress (fabulous book on this by Claire Tomalin: The Invisible Woman – if you have not read this, go out and buy it right now) – but letters recently discovered and studied by Professor John Bowen reveal that Dickens tried, like so many other men who had strayed and wanted out, to have his wife Catherine declared insane and institutionalized…https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/research/dickens-letters-asylum/

  • and also this at the Smithsonian:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/newly-analyzed-trove-letters-charles-dickens-180971545/

Harvard University [Image: University of York]

 

And more on Dickens (he loved decorating his home, worked from home, had no musical talent, etc…): https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/facts-charles-dickens-writer-children-family-home/

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Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries (Image: Spitalfields Life)

Lovely images – Cries of London: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/22/aunt-busy-bees-new-london-cries-x/

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An archived Austenonly post on Mr. Knightley, Magistrate: https://austenonly.com/2010/01/25/austen-only-emma-season-mr-knightley-magistrate/

New book out on Jane Austen: The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness, by Bryan Kozlowski. See the Jane Austen VOGUE (of all places!) for an article on the author, the book, and Jane as a nutritionist! (lots of meat, lots of walking…)

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Ever wonder why the Mona Lisa is so famous?? (I wonder about this every day…) – here’s the answer: http://www.openculture.com/2019/02/how-the-mona-lisa-went-from-being-barely-known-to-suddenly-the-most-famous-painting-in-the-world-1911.html

For you Bard-Lovers out there (and who isn’t?), how about starting a Shakespeare Book Club? https://shakespeareandbeyond.folger.edu/2019/02/19/shakespeare-book-clubs-austin-tichenor/

 

Into Dust Jackets? – here is an old essay in Publishers Weekly about a book on jackets from 1920-1970, published in 2017: (great covers here – even one by NC Wyeth): https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/75327-11-beautiful-vintage-book-covers.html

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A Cook Book we should all have, recently catalogued at the Lewis Walpole Library: https://lewiswalpole.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/the-complete-house-keeper-and-professed-cook/

Smith, Mary, of Newcastle. The complete house-keeper, and professed cook : calculated for the greater ease and assistance of ladies, house-keepers, cooks, &c. &c. : containing upwards of seven hundred practical and approved receipts … / by Mary Smith …Newcastle: Printed by T. Slack, for the author, 1772.

You can read it all here: https://archive.org/details/b21527404/page/n5

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Well, since we just got a dog (our 5th Springer Spaniel), I can’t resist passing this on from All Things Georgian – we all know of some of the ridiculous taxes imposed on the Georgians (think windows, candles, hair powder, and wallpaper, to name a few), but this one took forever to pass and was difficult to implement: Parliament going to the Dogs we could say:

https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/taxing-of-dogs-in-the-eighteenth-century/

Hayman, Francis; A Hound, a Spaniel and a Pug (A Portrait of a Mastiff); Norfolk Museums Service

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And because we always have to end with Jane: here are the wildly anticipated first photos of the filming of Andrew Davies’ Sanditon, Austen’s unfinished manuscript giving little direction with the plot and nearly no info on the possible Hero – so from what we DO know, who are these people??

https://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/itv-jane-austen-drama-sanditon-filmed-brean-beach/

[Theo James here – do hope he is Sidney Parker, who I believe IS the Hero…] – your thoughts?? [image from Burnham-on-the-sea.com]

Have a good week all – send me your favorite finds on the internet!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

Museum Musings: “Cut! Costume and the Cinema” ~ with a little bit of Jane Austen

Cut! Costume and the Cinema has been showing at the Columbia Museum of Art since November and closes today February 19, 2017. The exhibit takes us chronologically through the various fashions made for the movies by COSPROP, a London-based designer of authentic period costumes.

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Step into the exciting world of costume design with CUT! Costume and the Cinema. Through more than 40 period costumes we will expose the art of making costumes for film. The exhibition will reveal how film costumes set the scene and establish authenticity in films. These perfectly crafted costumes uncover clues about a character’s status, age, class and wealth as well as their role in the story.  The films represented in the exhibition depict five centuries of history, drama and comedy with period costumes worn by famous film stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, Uma Thurman, Angelica Huston, and many others. In all, more than 30 actors will be represented from 26 films…

World-renowned British costumer Cosprop Ltd. earned its first Academy Award for Costume Design in 1986 in A Room with a View.  Since then, the costumier has been nominated more than a dozen times. In 2007 three of the five Oscar nominees came from the Cosprop shop, only to be topped by winning the following year for The Duchess. Like their period prototypes, these opulent costumes are crafted of sumptuous fabrics and decorated with intricate embroidery and lace.

[From the distributor’s website: http://www.exhibitsdevelopment.com/Cut!.html]

Watch this youtube of the exhibit when it was at the BYU Museum of Art:

This exhibition has been traveling for the past ten years and finally made it to South Carolina. Joyful that I could take pictures (no flash), and as alas! there is no exhibition catalogue, I here offer a good sampling of what was on view. A picture cannot nearly capture the exquisite detail of these fashions – they must be seen up close and personal. And quite amazing to see how tiny some of these actresses (and actors) actually are! It also offers a terrific list of must-see movies, some that had somehow fallen through the cracks and others to be revisited with a new-found appreciation for the costumes.

The costumes are arranged chronologically. And YES, there is a Jane Austen, but alas! only one … we begin in the Renaissance period with this stunning dark green velvet: (you can click on any picture to enlarge it and see more detail)

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Angelica Huston in Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

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Heath Ledger in Cassanova (2005)

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Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

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Shirley Henderson as Catharine of Braganza “The Last King: The Power and the Passion of Charles II” (2003)

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The Georgians: outlandish (and to-die-for) fashions from The Duchess (2008):

And a close-up of Keira Knightley’s Whig-inspired outfit, and this helpful description from the “Family Guide” to the exhibition:

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Finally Jane Austen!  Kate Winslet as Marianne in Sense and Sensibility (1995)

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Victorian times with Dickens:

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“Little Dorrit” (2008) with Claire Foy

and Bronte:

The wedding dress in the 1996 Jane Eyre (with William Hurt)

And the all important hoop for Victorian ladies:

hoop

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Phantom of the Opera (2004) gives us these two stunning outfits, worn by Emmy Rossum and Minnie Driver:

portraitlady

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We now head into the later 1880s and beyond with this from Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady, here a dress worn by Nicole Kidman (I want this!)

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and this worn by Scarlett Johansson in The Prestige (2006)
– one of my favorite movies…

Renee Zellweger as Miss Potter (2006):misspotter

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Finding Neverland (2004) with Kate Winslet yet again and Rahda Mitchell as Mrs. Barrie (look at the detail in this dress!)

We’ll give the men a short nod here with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes (2009):

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[click on picture for info]
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A stunning Emma Thompson in Howards End (1992):howardsend-thompson

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In Love and War (1997) with Sandra Bullock (left) and
Amy Adams in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

And finally, the costume that headlines all the publicity, this from The Land of the Blind, a movie I confess to knowing nothing about other than it starred Ralph Fiennes and had this gorgeous dress!

landblind

Movies included in the exhibition but my pictures were not worth posting (all movies worth seeing!):

  • Hamlet (1996), with Julie Christie, Kenneth Branagh, and Kate Winslet (!)
  • Gosford Park (2001), Maggie Smith pre-Dowager Lady Grantham…
  • Mrs. Dalloway (1997) with Vanessa Redgrave 
  • The New World (2006) with Colin Farrell as Captain Smith and Q’orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas
  • The Golden Bowl (2000), with Kate Beckinsale,,Uma Thurman and Jeremy Northam

Join the discussion: What are some of your favorite fashions from period movies or TV?

c2017 Jane Austen in Vermont, all photos by the author

Fending Off Zombies, Jane Austen Style ~ A ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for a Modern World

cover-P&P&ZOk, so I should start this post by saying that I LOVE the movies and am easily entertained – if I take confession further, I also loved Roy Rogers, thought I WAS Dale Evans, and dressed exclusively as Annie Oakley for about four years – so please keep that in mind when I tell you I LOVED this movie…

But then I also liked the 2005 Pride & Prejudice, one among few at the JASNA AGM in Milwaukee . While most everyone was disgusted with the pigs in the kitchen, the Bennets having a sex life, and a Darcy with chest hair exposed at early dawn, I just sat there for two+ hours with a smile on my face – they got it! I thought – the sense of the story, albeit compacted, but in the end Austen’s tale, her characters, her wit was all there (I do think you have to like Keira Knightley to like the movie…and I do concede the American ending was atrocious). No one can duplicate the 1995 Ehle-Firth – it is brilliant and 20 years on, still nearly a perfect adaptation – but I think Joe Wright got it right enough in 2005, much like Clueless gave us a perfectly rendered Emma set 200 years later. How well Austen translates to different worlds, different tellings.

So Pride & Prejudice & Zombies? – does Austen translate into a world of the undead? Blood and guts amidst Regency gowns and an etiquette-proscribed society? I didn’t think so – as much as my early years of “Million Dollar Movie” trained me well (can re-watch Roman Holiday, An Affair to Remember over and over and still cry every time), such things as Mummies and Zombies and Vampires and Blobs, and any and all Creatures of the Deep were never my cup of tea. I much prefer spies and westerns and civilized space invaders to anything emerging from a decaying earth. But I did buy P&P&Z – every self-respecting Jane Austen collector should have it on their shelf, a must-have really, but alas! there it sits unread –  I couldn’t get past the first mention of  “a zombie in possession of brains,” whether universally acknowledged or not. Indeed the frontispiece alone told it all:

Frontispiece

“A few of the guests, who had the misfortune of being too near the windows, were seized and feasted on at once”

And that’s about all I needed to know – with 85% of the language from Jane, I felt creepily imaginative enough to fill in the other 15%… – so perhaps I am not a fair critic – I don’t know how much it follows the Grahame-Smith invention – but I went only to see a visual presentation of a P&P set in your everyday zombie-infested England – sort of a black plague on steroids… and what we really have here is the base story of P&P, a good solid dose of Austenian wit, a few drastic changes to the plot to make it fit into this rather gross world, and really just good plain fun.

But I must set the scene first: This was a spur of the moment decision to see this movie (a late matinee) – a quick email to my Jane Austen cohorts brought various no’s – other plans, hate zombies, etc., all good excuses, and there was no inducing my husband on this one – so I went alone, afraid the movie won’t be around here very long – and when I say alone, I mean ALONE – there was not another single soul in the theater! – a private screening (do they run a film if NO ONE shows up?) – I had no idea what to expect – I have purposely read no reviews, avoided all press on the movie, so I was there quite innocent of the oncoming mayhem – so I hunkered down and only briefly considered the gruesome truth that it was just me and the zombies, and me without a single weapon…

So here goes my checklist of a review, brief to avoid spoilers of any kind… and with my emphatic advice to just go see it…

Bella Heathcote (left) and Lily James star in Screen Gems' PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

Bella Heathcote (Jane) and Lily James (Lizzie)

  1. Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James): other than periodically confusing her with Natasha in the just-finished-the night-before War & Peace (some of the clothing strikingly similar – same time period so I guess it should), James makes a compelling Lizzie – those “fine eyes” are very present, she’s a terrific and fearless warrior, and I am sure that Andrew Davies must have had a hand here, or at least sat in a sub-director chair bellowing “more heaving bosoms please”… But this Lizzie is also Darcy’s equal in every way… and loved watching them find their way to each other… expertly slinging all manner of machetes along the way.
  2. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet  (Charles Dance and Sally Phillips): well cast, all the right lines there to clearly identify them as Austen’s parents, she ridiculous and he negligent (though Charles Dance, thankfully resurrected from Games of Thrones, and still hiding in his Library, did have the good sense to have his girls (and all FIVE are present and accounted for) trained as warriors). There is no embroidery or ribbons for these young ladies (though all are stunningly dressed!)- they spend their idle hours cleaning weapons – one feels safe in such a home as this.

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The Bennet Sisters, warriors all (youtube)

  1. Lady Catherine (Lena Headey, in Game of Thrones mode) – ha! – delightful – a black patch becomes her…

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Lena Headey as Lady Catherine (winteriscomingblog)

  1. Wickham (Jack Huston) – Huston was perhaps born for this role – Wickham’s evil side taken to new heights – I shall say only this so as not to give anything away – “pig brains.”

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Jack Huston as Wickham (finalreel.co.uk)

  1. Who knew that Charlotte Lucas snores?? – one can almost have sympathy for Mr. Collins… well maybe just a little…

     6. Ok, Darcy’s turn…

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Sam Riley as Darcy (screenrant)

Darcy, or “Fitz” as Wickham affectionately calls him (Sam Riley): I expect black leather great coats to become the latest fashion statement– too reminiscent of Nazi-Germany perhaps, but at least the costume here of the good guys. Riley shall be added to the Darcy roster, another name to check off in the endless “your favorite Darcy” polls – this Darcy, no idle aristocrat tending his own land, but fully armed with a small jar of dead-skin-detecting flies, is a Colonel in the Zombie-Annihilating Army, who like his black-clad not-so-distant cousin Batman, has the good sense to show up at exactly the right time, every time. (And obsessed Firth fans, have no fear – there is the barest glimpse of that essential piece of male wardrobe – the white shirt). Smitten with Elizabeth from the first look (after his initial requisite “she is tolerable” speech), his heartfelt but so hopelessly cringe-inducing proposal results in more than just Austen’s war of words – oh, most of the words are there, purists don’t worry, but if we line up all the available proposal scenes (such fun to do this – there are eleven I think, if you include Wishbone…) – this one shall surpass them all for pure energy and brilliant choreography… (and Davies was definitely here for this, coaching the proper removal of buttons…).

Here’s the rest of him:

Darcy-Riley-movieweb

 

  1. All other characters terrific – Jane and Bingley, alas! Caroline given short-shift, Mr. Collins (Matt Smith) as good as any of his predecessors, a stone-like Anne De Bourgh…

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Matt Smith as Mr. Collins (craveonline)

  1. Fun things to look for: lots of Austen quotes from her various writings – it will keep the Austen-knowledgeables on their toes and give the Austen newbies a new found appreciation of her brilliance. They might even go on to read the real book, sans zombies. My favorite line: “…if adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad” – and thus a zombie warrior is called to her destiny. [quiz: which novel?]
  2. The Zombies? – and Austen? If one is tempted to shake their heads in disgust and moan “Austen must be rolling over in her grave” – perhaps not an apt phrase for this particular story line – please go see it before you profess to know how Jane might feel. All told, this latest adaptation has a deep respect for the original text. It is not a “camp” over-the-top retelling but rather it seems to take the realities of this invasion of England very seriously – just another human-induced war of Good vs. Evil, no different perhaps than depicting Napoleon and the French army conquering the shores of England, a valid fear in Austen’s day. There are laughs to be sure – who cannot when a demure-looking Elizabeth suddenly hoists up her Regency finery to expose her sword-clad leg, grabs her weapons, and deftly slices off the head of a trespassing undead; or Darcy, in his frustration over Lizzie’s refusal, engaging in sword-play with most of Lady Catherine’s lovingly sculptured boxwood topiaries. Mr. Collins at the dance? – he’s perfect; the black-patched Lady Catherine (fashion or function? asks Mrs. Bennet) as the Queen of Zombie Warriors? – Game of Thrones trained her well…  So much of it all laugh-out loud (does one laugh-out loud if alone in a movie theater?)

screenrelish.com

screenrelish.com

But no, not “camp” at all – this all just seems to be almost real, a straight-on approach to a real threat to life as we know it, no one’s tongue in their cheek (well, maybe a little). One must just let go and get into the spirit of the thing, beginning with the introduction, a clever illustrated story-book depiction of the past 100 years of the zombie epidemic. And wonderful to know that all of Austen’s characters seamlessly fit into this world  – I think she’d be far from a turn-over in her grave, appalled at yet another mash-up of her “light, bright and sparkling” tale – I think she’d be sitting up and shouting Brava! Bravo! to her Elizabeth and Darcy and everyone else involved. It is after all, not much removed from her very own Juvenilia.

And the zombies themselves? Rest assured, they are really not that bad (have you seen The Picture of Dorian Gray recently?) – a few gruesome faces with blood and snot and rot, but all thankfully quickly dispatched – heads removed, bodies kicked and stomped with boots (lovely boots) – and most of it done in a flash or just shy of camera-range – brilliantly done really – and I confess to only once or twice turning around in the empty theater to be sure I was indeed alone…

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One piece of advice – stay for the credits…

[Stay tuned for another post with links to reviews, etc.]

c2106 Jane Austen in Vermont

Finally! ~ Jane Austen’s “Lady Susan” on Film, a.k.a. “Love & Friendship”

Love_&_Friendship_poster-wpJust posting here all the reviews that have been piling in from Sundance – we have been waiting all year for this film – from the very first announcement that Whit Stillman was going to film Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, but bizarrely calling it “Love & Friendship.” Starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny.

Now if you know Austen’s Juvenilia, you know that “Love & Freindship” is one of her funnier over the top pieces (my favorite line: “run mad as often as you chose, but do not faint….”). It has nothing to do with Lady Susan of course – but whatever the reason for the title shift,* by all accounts it is a terrific film, with a Heroine just like other of Austen’s  delicious “baddies” – Lady Susan the queen of them. At least there are no zombies to worry about…

And when can we see it? Maybe an April release??

Location images of Love & Friendship, a Jane Austen film adaptation starring Kate Bekinsdale and Chloe Sevigny, directed by Whit Stillman. CHURCHILL PRODUCTIONS LIMITED. Producers Katie Holly, Whit Stillman, Lauranne Bourrachot. Co-Producer Raymond Van Der Kaaij. Also Starring: Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell & Morfydd Clark

Chloë Sevigny (l) and Kate Beckinsale (r)

Here are links to several reviews:

[will add more as they come in]

Other links of interest: 

lady_susan penguin cover

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*In the above cited interview, Stillman explains the title change:

She had no title on it. I’ve seen the manuscript. It’s in the Morgan Library. Her nephew, when he published it in 1871, put the title Lady Susan on it. Austen had sort of shifted as she went along from character names to imposing noun names for titles. Sense and Sensibility was supposed to be called Elinor and Marianne. So we took the title from a juvenile short story to give it that Austen sound.

c2016 Jane Austen in Vermont

JASNA-Vermont Meeting ~ Annual Birthday Tea & Regency Ball! ~ December 6, 2015

Our Next Meeting!

You are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s December Meeting 

~ The Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea! ~

Celebrating 20 years of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice Mini-Series

P&P-DVDCover

A Regency Ball

with the Burlington Country Dancers and “Impropriety”*

Please join us for an Afternoon of Tea, Dancing, P&P Film Clips**,
Fashion, Whist, Quizzes, Shopping, and More! 

Sunday, 6 December 2015, 1 – 5 p.m. 

 The Essex Culinary Resort & Spa
70 Essex Way, Essex Junction, VT 05452

$35. / person ~ $10. / student ~ $40. / at the door
RSVPs required!  ~ Reserve by 11-27-15 

~ Regency Period or Afternoon Tea finery encouraged! ~ 

Event flier: December 6 2015 flier
Reservation form: Dec Tea 2015-Reservation form

For more information:   JASNAVTRegion [at] gmail [dot] com
Visit our blog for the registration form: http://JaneAustenInVermont.wordpress.com

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P&P1995-dancing

* Our Regency Ball features Val Medve and the Burlington Country Dancers, music by “Impropriety” – Aaron Marcus (piano), Laura Markowitz (violin) and Ana Ruesink (viola) – instruction given, all skill levels welcome!

** We ask you to tell us in advance your favorite scene in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice – we will be showing and discussing these during the Tea.

Hope to see you there! 

Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice, by Paula Byrne – A Review

Laurel Ann’s review of the book “Belle” by Paula Byrne – I highly recommend it…

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Belle by Paula Byrne 2014 x 200From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Commissioned by the producers of the new movie Belle, acclaimed biographer Paula Byrne aims to reveal the true story behind the main characters in the movie: Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy and an African slave, and her great-uncle, William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-93) and Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice is both a companion volume to the popular movie and a time capsule into the turbulent abolition movement in the late eighteenth-century England.

Inspired by the 1779 portrait of Dido and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, screenwriter Misan Sagay has written a compelling story based on facts she first learned of while visiting the 2007, Slavery and Justice Exhibition. Dido and Elizabeth were Lord Mansfield’s wards and raised together at…

View original post 1,048 more words

A Jane Austen Immersion ~ Learning about Persuasion on Lake George, New York.

I am posting here several pictures from the JASNA-New York Capital Region’s Retreat from a few weeks ago – a fabulous time was had by all as we learned about, discussed, laughed over, and watched Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The overnight retreat was held at the Wiawaka Holiday House located on Lake George, New York, a perfect setting for a 24-hour immersion in the early 19th century. [See here for information on the weekend]

Wiawaka House c2013 Mary Huber

Wiawaka House c2013 Mary Huber

The event was facilitated by member Billie Franchini, who offered up great discussion questions, and kept us all on track and everything running very smoothly. We had the pleasure of listening to local author Marilyn Rothstein talk about the Regency Period, with tales of the Prince Regent, life in London for the upper classes, and Beau Brummell.

Hammond-BeauBrummell[Beau Brummell, by Aubrey Hammond, in Lewis Melville, Beau Brummell (NY: Doran, 1925) – at Hathi Trust]

Lisa Brown, from the Syracuse and Rochester JASNA regions (and who has said she really just joined JASNA so she could talk about her first Love, The Royal Navy!), gave an enlightening talk on the uniforms of the Royal Navy from the period, as she passed around various examples of jackets made of superfine wool with epaulettes and buttons that we could handle and ooh! and aah! over [alas! – all empty with no Captain Wentworth in sight!]

the all-important epaulette c2013 D Barnum

the all-important epaulette c2013 D Barnum

Navy Uniforms 1795-1812 - Lisa Brown

Navy Uniforms 1795-1812 – Lisa Brown

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Lisa spoke the next day as well on “How Captain Wentworth Made His Fortune” – wherein we learned about the various ships of the period (and those that Wentworth commanded), the rating system, how one became an officer with hopes of success in battle and a future as an admiral, how one earned their prize money, how often a sailor was relegated to half-pay status [think Capt. Harville] and how very knowledgeable Jane Austen was about the Royal Navy because of her brothers’ involvement. Lisa is a veritable encyclopedia about the RN and she handled our peppering with questions admirably! [very excited to announce that Lisa will be speaking at our JASNA-Vermont June 2014 meeting!]

 c2013 Mary Huber

Lisa’s exhibits – c2013 Mary Huber

Tea on the Porch! c2013 D Barnum

Tea on the Porch! c2013 D Barnum

The weekend ended with a sumptuous Tea, prepared mostly by RC Pat Friesen, and a final discussion of the joys of viewing the movie adaptation of Persuasion – thankfully the one with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds! – which we had done the night before… one never tires of this nearly perfect adaptation, and one always sees things not seen before, moreso when viewing it with a group…

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A lovely 24-hour immersion! – up for next year is Northanger Abbey, and a more perfect setting I cannot imagine. Thank you all in the Capital Region JASNA group for making us all feel so very welcome and offering up insightful Austen discussion!

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Breakfast with Billie and Sara - c2013 Mary Huber

Breakfast with Billie and Sara – c2013 Mary Huber

Lunch! - c2013 Mary Huber

Lunch! – c2013 Mary Huber

c2013 Mary Huber

c2013 Mary Huber

c2013 Lisa Brown

c2013 Lisa Brown

JASNA-NYCR-flier

Further reading:

All photos reprinted courtesy of Mary Huber, Lisa Brown, and Deb Barnum; you can view more photos of the retreat here: